BAKERSFIELD – Samuel Gates, age 78, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, April 17, 2016 while on vacation in Florida.

He was born in Franklin on July 7, 1937 to the late Earl and Hyla (Willard) Gates.

Sam lived up to the last moment doing what he loved most, spending time with his children and grandchildren. His grand kids were his world. He could be seen in the bleachers watching them play ball, he was their #1 fan! If he wasn’t watching them, he was cracking jokes, telling them stories, or cuddling with them on his lap.

Sam also loved sports and most nights he could be found sitting in his recliner watching the Red Sox or Celtics. Whenever Sam wasn’t watching games he could usually be found tinkering in the garage or working in the family potato piece.

Sam was an active member of the Bakersfield community, where he served many roles and belonged to the Volunteer Fire Department for over 30 years. It didn’t matter who you were or what you needed, Sam was always willing to give a helping hand.

He attended schools in Bakersfield and graduated from Brigham Academy in 1955. Following graduation, he traveled to Connecticut and worked at Pratt and Whitney from 1955 to 1970. During that time, he met the love of his life and future bride, Barb, whom he married in 1959.

He and his family moved back to Bakersfield in 1970 and at that time he began working for Rowe Contracting. In 1977 he started working for the Village of Enosburg Falls at the Waste Water Treatment Plant. Sam retired in 2005.

Sam, also known as ‘Papa’ to those closest to him is survived by his wife of 56 years, Barbara G. Gates; along with his daughter, Rhonda Goss and her husband, Tim; their children, Josh and his wife, Jessica, Jared and his significant other, Sam King, and Jordan; his daughter, Brenda Gagne and her husband, Keith and their children: Dakota, Riley, and Cheyanne; his son, Scott Gates and his wife, Wendy and their children: Samantha, Norah, Asa, and Addison; four great-grandchildren: Kaden, Reagan, Katelynn and Jaxon; his siblings, Melissa Tatro and Lindsey Gates and several nieces, nephews and close friends. Besides his parents, Sam was predeceased by his nephew Luc Gates.

Visitation will be Monday, April 25, 2016 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Spears Funeral Home, 96 Dickinson Ave., Enosburg Falls.

A funeral service will be held Tuesday, April 26, 2016 at 2:00 pm at the Spears Funeral Home with Rev. Lyle Willey officiating. Interment will follow in Maple Grove Cemetery in Bakersfield.

For those who wish, contributions in Sam’s memory may be made to the Enosburg Falls High School – Girls Varsity Basketball State Championship Team, c/o Chris Brigham, P.O. Box 417, Enosburg Falls, VT 05450 or to the Bakersfield Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 12, Bakersfield, VT 05441.

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